Edgar Allan Poe – The Novel That Predicted A M…

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Edgar Allan Poe was a poet and author from the 1800s. Today he is famous all over the world as one of the founders of gothic poetry, and has been known to generation after generation as the king of gothic horror.

In 1838, Poe’s only novel was published – ‘The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket’. In the book, the crew of a ship called Grampus are left stranded at sea with no food or water on a slowly sinking boat. The crew grow more and more desperate as the days go on, only managing to catch a single turtle and eating it. Eventually they decide that in order to survive, they must resort to cannibalism. The crew draw straws to decide who will be eaten, and the death straw goes to a cabin boy named Richard Parker. Parker was a former mutineer, and is gladly stabbed to death by the crew. His head, hands and feet are thrown overboard to make the sinking boat lighter, and the rest of him is eaten by the crew. The crew make it to land and are rescued.

Poe called his own story ‘’very silly’’, and moved on with writing more poems and short stories. But in 1884, 45 years later, something shockingly unexplainable occured on a boat bound for Australia from England.

The boat was called the Mignonette, and wasen’t built for such a long journey. The ship sank in a storm, and the crew (consisting of four men) barely managed to escape on a lifeboat. They had no provisions with them. Just like in the Poe story, they managed to catch a turtle and eat it. However, they too realised like the crew of the Grampus that they needed another way to survive.

Amongst the four men was a 17 year old cabin boy named Richard Parker. Parker foolishly tried to drink seawater to quench his thirst, and became ill. His crew drew straws, and eventually decided to kill Parker. They realised that if they waited for him to die, his blood could become contaminated, and so they stabbed him to death. They then ate him. A few days later, the crew were rescued.

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